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5G Auction: NCC speaks on Tinubu’s alleged connection with bid winner

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has denied knowledge of the reported involvement of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with a company, Mafab Communications Limited, which won one of the 5G slots auctioned on Monday.

The Commission spoke in a statement on Wednesday issued by its Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.

The statement said: “In the course of its routine media review, today, December 15, 2021, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) became aware of publications in some online media channels alleging the involvement of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State, in Mafab Communications Limited, one of the winners of the 5G spectrum sold by the Commission in a public auction conducted on Monday, December 13, 2021, at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

“It bears restating that, consistent with the Commission’s long-established regulatory culture and tradition, the process leading to the auction of the 5G spectrum was open, fair and transparent in the most, as the public auction followed a rigorous due process and was witnessed by a cross-section of stakeholders as observers, including the media, the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as well as civil society groups.

“Mafab Communications Limited is a corporate entity duly licensed by the Commission to conduct telecommunications business. The company, which is in good regulatory standing with the Commission, currently holds international data access (IDA), inter-connect data exchange (IDE) and Value-Added Service (VAS) licences.

“It is pertinent to state that the Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum clearly set out eligibility criteria for participation of interested bidders in the auction, which included that new companies could participate in the bid.

“Over the years, the NCC has had spectrum auctions and as an independent regulatory agency, has maintained an undisputable reputation of successful auctions based on openness, fairness and transparency, a fact widely acknowledged locally and internationally. NCC’s auction proceedings conform to international best practice, devoid of any undue influence or interferences whatsoever.

“A higher standard of integrity and openness was emplaced in the 5G auction as the process was, for the first time, witnessed by the public both physically and virtually through a link provided by the Commission on its official website.

“The Commission would like to assure Nigerians that, following the successful auction of the 5G spectrum, it is prepared to drive the implementation of the next phase of the deployment of the new technology, in line with the Federal Government’s approved plan, for the benefit of all citizens.”

The Eagle

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Breaking: CBN jacks up interest rate to 15.5%

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the monetary policy rate (MPR), which measures interest rate, from 14 per cent to 15.5 per cent to tame rising inflation.

The interest rate was raised from 13 per cent to 14 per cent in July this year.

The monetary policy rate is the baseline interest rate in an economy, every other interest rate used within an economy is built on.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, addressing journalists on Tuesday after the committee’s meeting in Abuja, said 10 members of the committee voted for the rate hike.

In August, Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to a nearly two-decade high at 20.52 per cent.

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Lamborghini pushes out final Aventador, Ultimae, ends V12 supercar

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Supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini, has announced the production of the last Aventador. You can call it Avantador’s last dance. The final Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae was rolled off the production line in Sant’Agata, Italy, and kissing goodbye to V12-powered supercar that shaped an era. The Lamborghini V12 will be hybridised going forward.

This Ultimae Roadster marks the 11,465th Aventador to reach customers worldwide. First launched in 2011, the Aventador is not exactly modern, but when it debuted, it was described by CEO Stephan Winkelmann as “a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology,” with “performance that is simply overwhelming.”

A plug-in hybrid replacement is expected to be revealed later this year, having been spied testing.

Lamborghini made sure the final model was the most powerful, with the 6.5-litre unit producing 10bhp more than in the previous range-topping Aventador, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, sending 769bhp (780PS, hence the name) to both axles. The Aventador-based Essenza SCV12 produces 819bhp but is limited to track use.

The Ultimae’s 531lb ft torque peak matches the SVJ’s, with which it shares its power- to-weight ratio. But with a 0-62mph time of just 2.8sec and a top speed of 221mph, the Ultimae is the fastest road-going Aventador.

The 350 coupés and 250 roadsters – each sold with a numbered plaque – were offered in a range of unique colour schemes, including a new grey-on-grey option with contrasting red trim elements, while the roadster could be specified with an exposed carbonfibre roof panel. It was also subtly marked out from other Aventadors by way of a unique styling package that “took the best components” of the S and SVJ.

The Aventador’s plug-in hybrid replacement will serve as a bridge to pure-electric Lamborghini models in the future.

This electrified future will see the Hurácan and Lamborghini Urus also go down the same route, and an all-electric 2+2 introduced in the second half of the decade.

Importantly, however, while its replacement will use an electrified drivetrain, it will take the bulk of its power from a large-capacity V12, in line with company boss Stephan Winkelmann’s commitment to the emotional value of its supercars.

He told Autocar last year that there is “a lot of emotion attached” to the 12-cylinder engine, which he is particularly aware of, having been involved in the launch of the Aventador in his first stint as the boss of Lamborghini in 2011.

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How to use your pensions for mortgage

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The National Pension Commission recently approved the guidelines to access Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.

The approval was in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage.

PenCom however specified conditions to access the funds. A major condition is that the applicant must be in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.

It stated that application for equity contribution for residential mortgage must be in person and not by proxy.

How to apply

Anybody who is interested can approach his PFA to get explanation on the process. The PFA will print the statement of account and determine the 25 per cent.

Speaking with our correspondent, the Spokesperson, PenCom, Abdulqadir Dahiru, said, “Then when you have that, you can now go back to your mortgage lender, get a letter of offer of your property, go through their own due diligence to agree for them to finance because the pension is only giving you 25 per cent; 75 per cent will still be financed by somebody.

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“That person must give you an offer letter for a loan that he is ready to finance you, and this is the equity contribution you are required to bring. So if you have that equity contribution with that letter of offer, which has been validated by the mortgage lender, that is when you can approach your PFA to request for your 25 per cent.”

Maximum amount allowed

PenCom stated that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.

Where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, the RSA holders may utilise the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).

Consent form

If a person had accessed part of the funds before either for leaving paid employment before retirement age, he will still get lump sum at retirement. He can still get part of the funds for mortgage after meeting specific conditions stated in the guidelines, but he must sign a consent form to get it.

Aisha Dahir-Umar, DG National Pension Commission

Dahiru said, “If you have taken 25 per cent for temporary loss of job and then you get employment again, and you continue contributing and you come to collect for a mortgage, you will sign a consent to say that I’m fully aware that this money I want to withdraw to finance a house will affect the amount I may likely take when I retire, I understand and whatever.

“So, basically you are indemnifying the PFA that you understand so that at the point of retirement, if your benefit is lower compared to your colleagues you will not complain.”

Mortgage lender

To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate, according to PenCom’s guidelines.

Eligibility

According to PenCom, a worker must have an offer letter for the property duly signed by the property owner and verified by the mortgage lender. The RSA of the applicant must have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years). A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application.

Age limit

RSA holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.

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Dahiru explained, “If I am an employee and working in an organisation where the retirement age is 55 years, if I am 50, or 51 years, I can access because I have five years or more than three years to retire. But once I get to 52 that, means I have three years which I cannot access.”

According to PenCom’s guidelines, married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.

Data recapturing

RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.

Dahiru said, “But it’s very important that RSA holders have done their recapture. When you have not done your data recapturing, we can’t process it.”

Insufficient 25 per cent contribution

The PenCom spokesperson said, “Where the 25 per cent the mortgage lender is asking for is equal to the 25 per cent of your RSA, definitely we will process. But if what mortgage lender is asking for is higher than what you can get from your PFA, you will have to look for the difference and pay and show evidence to your PFA.

“For instance, if your mortgage lender is looking for N2.5m and the mortgage is N10m, and the mortgage lender says bring 25 per cent as equity contribution, and your own 25 per cent in your RSA is only N1.5m, you will have to look for that difference of N1m and pay; then come with it with your offer letter for the property and the evidence that I have paid, then your PFA will give you the balance of N1.5m which is your 25 per cent.”

Punch

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